About The Farmers ::: Part 1
The Farmers are never somber or ordinary people; except when they are !
Gail and Ken, here in after referred to as “the Farmers”, have been together now for over almost 40 years. They’ve been doing small scale, agriculture most of that time, but the last 30 years this work has kept them busy full time. They don’t always get along or agree, but both see love as sustainable, and production of local food as vital to our security as a community and world.
Since they’ve been producing local food for a very long time, they’ve gotten pretty good at it, although growing field crops requires a constant dance with Nature, so they try not to get too full of themselves.
Another thing, they mostly like what they do, and are often willing to share that with others as they go through the farm season (and life).
Gail likes dancing, children, herbs, flowers, baking, and stories. She mostly has a smile, and likes a good joke. She directly handles flower harvest and bouquets, noon lunch meals, the pack out, share management, quality control, office work, customer contact, phone calls, and book work. Canning and food preservation are squeezed in on the side, along with numerous other odds and ends.
Ken likes plants of all kinds,( and growing them well) , old fruit trees, (and keeping them productive), bluegrass music, breakfast, and soccer. He mostly handles the field work, seeding through harvest; orchard work, pruning through harvest, animal chores, irrigation, repair, construction, farmers market, office and email.
The Farmers have been involved in local agriculture issues for many years, including collaboration with other growers in helping form farmers markets up and down the Valley, and other such helpful organizations in the state and local area. They remember when no farmers markets existed in Colorado, when people didn't understand the concept of "organic" produce, and hadn't a clue as to what a CSA farm entailed. Guess who did the educating??
They have had numerous interns over the years, to help with the seasonal work and learn the trade. Many have gone on to do farming, or community organizing around food issues. Most have proven worthy of the challenge -nearly a year of focused attention toward food production, seasonal adaptations, and the rhythms of a farming life. The farm has been the beneficiary of their dedication and hard work.
The Farmers mostly like other people and children.
The Farmers, don’t always enjoy farming, but they do love it. They have a passion for providing good food for people in their near-by communities. They put in many hours, doing often routine work, to make that happen. They view farming as “noble work”, worthy of praise and honor. They view farming as “right livelihood”, earning an honest wage, and providing needed provisions to the community, in a spirit of cooperation and unity. They see farming as necessary part of every community.
The Farmers have roots in agriculture from early years, and that connection fixed in their souls the importance of keeping these traditions alive and well.
The Farmers like eating fresh food themselves, often several times a day! They eat a big lunch, often with other people, Cultivating Seasonal Appetites. And yes, the Farmers have been eating slow, for many years now.
The Farmers don’t go out much, and go to bed early, depending on the time of year. They get up early, doing daily chores, harvesting before the day gets hot, and doing many different things before the day is through.
They value the independent, self directed, "be your own boss", life style of small farmers. They like living and working with Seasons, (the spice of life), and find these yearly changes to be the inspriation for large and small celebrations alike !
About The Farmers ::: Part 2
Ken and Gail Kuhns are the “owner / operators” of Peach Valley CSA Farm, with the help of several full time interns, numerous “working members” and many volunteers.
They have been strong advocates for local foods since they began growing big home gardens in the 70’s here in Western Colorado.
Ken was born a dairy farmer’s son, moving to Colorado in the 1950’s. He attended the one room school at Canyon Creek for four years, before it was consolidated. Those memories always have kept Western Colorado his place to call home. Gail grew up in the East, daughter of Irish / Italian parents, with roots in the land. After a few years of travel, they moved back to Peach Valley in the late 70’s.
Together they have raised four children, all of whom have grown, married, and have their own families and work. Alas, as of this date, none have ventured into farming. They have persued their own dreams, and continually make their parents proud in many other ways !! But…any time is an ok time to begin farming!
Ken and Gail have been involved in numerous efforts over the years to promote small scale and organic agriculture, Community Supported Farms, and Farmers Markets.
They are charter members and helped in the formation of both the Glenwood Springs Farmers Market (Saturdays)- (1985) and the Aspen Farmers Market (1999). Ken was on the BOD of the first Colorado Farmers Market Association, (circa 1986). Peach Valley CSA currently does only one Farmers Market:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Glenwood Springs Saturdays.
Peach Valley CSA hosted the first SARE nation wide weeklong workshop to teach principles, methods, and logistics, of Community Supported Agriculture – 1997. Over the years they have given numerous presentations, tours, workshops, regarding local agriculture and it’s importance in healthy and sustainable communities.
Peach Valley CSA has always has always had a policy of collaboration with other farms. Over the years, the farm and CSA have promoted other small growers, working together to provide adequate and abundant food for members. As we have seen with past interns, and CSA members, several of the growers who have provided food for our shares, have gone on to start their own CSA’s here on the Western Slope, helping their operations become more viable.
Ken and Gail also believe in transparency, giving members access to the farm on a regular basis, including regular lunches. They have purposely maintained an open website, information on shares, and records of production, seed varieties, costs / income comparisons. They believe the CSA model, as they have developed it on their farm, holds a key to balanced agriculture ( demand meets consumption), and learning to work, live, and grow plentiful food, there by growing “community”, and keeping production agriculture a part of the home town picture.
That is what Peach Valley has been about for the past 30 years. Ken and Gail have a dedication to farming and good food for people. Though age is finding them aching a bit more, the growth of the fresh food movement has been heartening. They believe vibrant local foods make our bodies, our economies, and our communities strong and resilient. They'll keep doing this for a while yet :: long as the Body holds up, the Lord is willing, and the Creek don't rise!